>Day 80–Eighty?? Really?

>Man…time flies when you’re losing weight.  I can’t believe its been eighty days since I challenged myself to get healthier and lose some of my gut.  I think its been pretty successful so far, even if I know I could work harder.  Thanks for sticking around this long, or if you’re new to the Ignition, welcome to the show!

Today ended testing (thank the Lord) so tomorrow we get back to normal and I don’t have to be freakishly bored all the time.  Tomorrow also begins the awesomeness that is Amazing Grace, a vastly underrated movie if you appreciate God and history like I do.  I’m pretty pumped…and I bet the kids fall asleep.  Oh well.

Breakfast–I felt compelled to eat a bigger breakfast than I have recently for two reasons: 1) I couldn’t remember what lunch was and wanted to be safe, and 2) I wanted to jump start my metabolism.  I think I accomplished both.

Snack–My last Fiber One bar…rest in piece good friends.

Lunch–I’m not even sure what lunch was today, but I know it wasn’t healthy.  I had another salad, and grabbed some of the “grilled” chicken they keep in the salad bar.  It definitely wasn’t grilled, but it was actually really good.  I wish I had found that earlier in the year!

After School Activity–This isn’t food, but I wanted to celebrate the fact that I went to a restaurant supply store and snagged myself a chef’s coat for the weekend.  It looks really good…almost like its meant to be!

Dinner–My version of pasta carbonara.  I don’t like cheese or cream, so I went with bacon, crisped up and set off to drain, then I added asparagus and peas, then tossed it all with garlic and some rotini.  It was amazing, even if my portion sizes were probably a bit off…

Dessert–Leftover raspberry sorbet from last night with some Dove chocolate fudge to make it a bit more indulgent.  It was great, although it was unnecessary in retrospect.  I thought I wanted sweets, but now my body is informing me it wasn’t the greatest idea…which is wonderful for the future.  I love sweets, but they should be special, not a necessary stage.  Feels great!

So there we are…I’ll probably take a walk later and do some weight work.  Good stuff all around!

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>Day 79–Party Time at the St. Germains!

>So we celebrated my friend Jason Toy’s birthday yesterday night, which was a great time with amazing friends and great food.  Casey made this amazing teriyaki chicken and sticky rice, I made sauteed squash, mushrooms, and onions, and then there was Funfetti (what what!) cake and sorbet floats, courtesy of Safeway brand Apple and Pomegranate Apple Sparkling Cider.  I wish I got paid for that little product placement.

The highlight of the evening was most certainly Ms. Julia Austen St. Germain, all two weeks of her.  She slept almost the entire time, only got fussy once (and when I picked her up SHE CALMED DOWN. Alert the presses.) and generally spent the night looking as cute as possible and stealing my wife’s heart.  I’ve got some competition now, and I don’t mind one bit.

On to the food…my memory isn’t so hot right now since I’m exhausted, but this will be as accurate as I can make it.

Breakfast–Fage Peach with honey. It was another slow starting morning.

Snack–Fiber One bar.

Lunch–Spicy Thai chile tuna with spinach salad, crackers, and barbecue Zapps.  Still funny.

Snack–Fage Cherry with honey.  I went to the store to get stuff for dessert and reloaded on Fage while I was there.  The Chobani was cheaper, but they only had pineapple 2%, and frankly, its gross.

Dinner–As I said above, I had a teriyaki chicken breast, about 3/4 cup white sticky rice, and a heaping pile of sauteed veggies.  The vegetables had some Montreal Steak seasoning and a splash of Riesling white wine at the end, and I have admit–they were really good.  Usually I don’t cook with wine, or even have it in my possession, but I read an article the other day that really stuck in my imagination: “Home cooks season with salt and pepper.  Great chefs season with salt and acid.”  So that’s my new venture…how can I incorporate some acid into each dish, not for the sake of doing it, but to enhance flavors.

Dessert–Here’s where the wheels fall off.  They had a bowl of jellybeans out (so you know I’m screwed) that I nibbled on all night while cooking, and then I had TWO pieces of cake.  C’est la vie…it was delicious, and I had a salad for lunch. I think I can deal.

All in all, not a terrible day, but not perfect.  I still need to workout some, and hopefully Wednesday will provide an opportunity for that.

How about you, dear reader–do you use any special forms of acid (vinegars, wines, juices, etc.) in cooking that I should know about?

>Day 78–The Frugal Gourmet

>Thus begins week two of our little attempt to plan out meals, hopefully saving money and allowing us to be healthier so we won’t be tempted to eat junk food.  Its harder to eat bad stuff when there isn’t any bad stuff around to eat.  After some simple planning last night, I got all the ingredients together for the week and it cost a whopping total of: 18 dollars.  That’s right…5 days worth of meals, 18 dollars.  I’d say this is working out quite nicely.

The testing schedule today was just as weird as expected.  I literally didn’t do anything from about 9 til 1, then talked to my freshmen about sex using duct tape as a visual aid (thank you Eddie Boyer), then taught one Acts class that I don’t see again until Wednesday.  Business as usual.

Breakfast–Chocolate Cheerios and Mango Chobani with honey.  Back on the protein/fat kick to get full, and it worked quite well.

Snack–Fiber One bar.

Lunch–Chicken, brown rice, and sauteed spinach.  I will say…sauteed spinach is NOT good.  I topped it off with another Fiber One bar because chicken and spinach isn’t that filling and eating cups of rice just to get full seemed, well, dumb.

Snack–Cherry Fage w/ honey.

Dinner–Jambalaya rice, andouille sausage, and dark red kidney beans.  Very filling, very cheap…a great meal.  And it will definitely be complete when I finish it off with…

Dessert–Cupcakes! Gotta eat them before they go bad.  Yeehah.

>Day 77–Well, I Made it Eleven Weeks…

>…before I got bored.  I’m at my lowest weight since last February, have done it almost effortlessly, and yet it was so easy to completely screw up today.  I do believe I’ve hit a wall, and it bugs me.

Perhaps working out more is the key–all I’ve done is eat well, and there isn’t much variety in that.  I also have some ridiculous stress levels (more on that in the coming week) that have sapped me of my ability to care about my weight, and I can’t stop thinking about cooking due to Jordan’s FCC event, and let me tell you: when you’re capable of what I’m capable of, and when you know what Jordan is capable of, simple salads don’t fit the bill.

All this is to say: today’s eating was a disaster, and I’m not really sorry for it.  I will try to do better though.

Breakfast–Chocolate cheerios.

Lunch–Whataburger.  Double whataburger, fries, Dr. Pepper, and some jellybeans.

Dinner–Three slices of Dominos (still gross) and three chocolate chocolate chip cookies.  And another Dr. Pepper.

So I’m sure I ate like 3000 calories today and I didn’t work out at all, but I did get a new iPhone and I should lift weights before bed.

Any suggestions/motivations to get me out of the funk?

>Day 76–Butler!

>I’m not even sure its fair to call Butler a cinderella anymore.  I mean, they appear capable of doing what everyone THOUGHT Gonzaga was capable of doing in the early 00’s–winning a national title for the mid-majors.  Unfortunately for them, they have to (probably) knock off the best team remaining in the tournament, and the only one seed left: Kansas.  Good thing Kansas collapses more easily than the Metrodome roof (too soon?).  Go Bulldogs!

In less eventful news, Abby had a softball tournament today.  Her team was the defending champion, and, well…they don’t have to worry about that anymore.  She played very well though, and has a screwed up ankle and a scratched up leg to show for it.  Chicks dig scars.

I neither went to the Farmers Market nor worked out today because I was lazy, the softball tourney happened, and then both basketball games were amazing, AND we had dinner with the Toys.  It was busy, just not healthy.

Breakfast–Peach Fage with honey and a bowl of Chocolate Cheerios.  I’m really a big fan of Chocolate Cheerios…they’re good and (relatively) good for you, as chocolate cereals go.

Lunch–Half of a leftover chicken breast from the other night, some brown rice, and black beans, all topped with sweet chili sauce.  It was delicious…I shall certainly concoct it again.

Snack–Really, throughout the day I ate about 4 handfuls of jellybeans.  I finally did the responsible thing and threw the bag away after picking out the cherry ones.  I love cherries.

Dinner–Brenner, two nights in a row. Booyah!  We had eggs and pancakes at the Toys, as well as really good conversation.  I also had two cokes. Oops.  In my defense, I needed caffeine to help me stay awake…long day, and I’m not used to being in the sun. Took the strength out of me.

Church tomorrow, life group tomorrow night, then back to school for the Testing Week of Wackiness, or TWW from here on out.  Sorry for the short post, but the brain is fried. I’ll try to make up for it tomorrow.

And welcome back to the newlyweds, the Kings!  Hope Mexico was fun!

>Day 75–Generic Rebecca Black/Friday Joke

>Would you like the good news, the great news, or the amazing news first?  Good news? Okay…we’ll let the excitement build.

Good news (non-Gospel edition): There’s a new Epicurean Epiphany post!  I went with Byron Dawson’s suggestion of balsamic vinegar.  It’s not as in-depth as the salt post was, but I still think its fun to explore all these ingredients that I use almost every day and learn more about them.  Maybe you’ll learn something too…click on the link and find out!

Great news: IT’S FRIDAY.  All hail the weekend.  I still haven’t successfully recovered from the wedding, and getting up early for school certainly didn’t help.  Going to bed and sleeping for a while should remedy that particular situation.  Also, heard a good word from Rob Bell today that was completely unrelated to hell and got to fiddle around with the Proverbs for a while, so it was an edifying day as well!

Amazing news:  So my good friend Jordan Swim, who is at least partially responsible for every single thing about me (why I’m a Christian, why I cook, why I’m in ministry, etc.), has this incredible catering service, Vestals Foods, runs the Culinary Arts program at Allen High School, and also does these monthly gatherings called Food Creates Community. And yes, I’m link happy today. Deal with it.  Anyways, his next FCC event is April 2nd in Dallas, and I get to help him put it together!  I’m pumped about all of it, from shopping with the local vendors to actually running service in a kitchen.  I’m also blessed to have a friend who is willing to let a moron like me in his kitchen.  I’ll be sure to report back with how it goes, and hopefully I can convince him to write an EE post sometime.  The man has forgotten more about food than I know.

On to what I do remember: what I ate today.  It isn’t pretty.

Breakfast–Two pieces of whole wheat toast with chocolate peanut butter, courtesy of Justin’s once again.  I probably overdid it on the CPB, but I also knew that lunch was going to be shady at best, so I tried to plan accordingly.

Snack–Fiber One bar. Because there’s a box of them by my desk.

Lunch–A piece of bread with even more CPB on it, a banana, and a bowl of lentil soup.  I scavenged.

Snack–Handful of jellybeans.  I forgot about them for so long, and then the bright yellow bag attracted my attention once again.  Freaking Starburst marketing department…why you gotta be so good at your jobs?

Dinner–We had two choices: go out and eat something not that healthy that also took up some money, or go with breakfast foods we had in the fridge.  Frugality won out, surprisingly, so we went with bacon, eggs, and roasted potatoes/peppers.  I had a good portion of potatoes, about 2.5 eggs, and 2.5 strips of bacon.  A delicious meal, if I do say so myself.

Dessert–And here’s the problem.  We had a movie night at school, showing Toy Story (a classic), and we also sold concessions.  Cheap concessions.  I had some sour belts, a sweet and salty peanut bar, and part of a Coca Cola.  I’m a failure.

I think the lack of calories at lunch probably evened out the disaster this evening, but with no exercise to speak of, it still wasn’t good.  Hopefully the Farmers Market and an afternoon in the gym will help get everything back on track.

Enjoy your weekend!

>Day 74–Oh Yeah…There’s Basketball On!

>You know its been a weird week when I completely forgot we were in the middle of March Madness.  Then, lo and behold, I turn on the telly to see San Diego St. and UConn duking (pun intended) it out.  It’s nice to have a memory like a sieve…means things are always fresh and new!  Oh, and GO DUKE.

Decent day at school; our schedule is going to get really weird in the next week or so because the seniors go on Senior Experience starting tomorrow, then the beginning of next week is our lovely testing schedule that means classes take a backseat to the standardized testing we do each year.  So…that’ll be fun.

Breakfast–Toastwich baby! All natural peanut butter, Fredricksburg Farms peach preserves, and two pieces of whole wheat toast.  You better believe its just as amazing as it sounds!

Lunch–Dilemma time.  We had a CMT meeting today, and we ordered pizza that was literally dripping with grease, so I went with the school provided option: a baked “chicken patty” sandwich.  Needless to say, I didn’t finish that.  But the asparagus and baked potato that came with it I devoured, along with a banana.  It was great.

Dinner–Abby abandoned me for a dinner at her school, so I decided to tinker a bit.  I wok-fried some ground pork, asparagus, and onion in a soy/mirin/cornstarch mixture that ended up producing a wonderful sauce.  The whole thing went on top of some brown rice, and it was a great meal.  Not sure the health content since I had to add some new stuff to the sauce (like mirin and a dash of stir fry sauce) but it tasted great and had good ingredients.  That’s really all I could ask for.

Dessert–Gummi bears, followed by a (much healthier) chaser of peach Fage with honey.

Exercise–Some weight work while watching the aforementioned basketball games.

Notice I avoided the cupcakes today. Points for me!